Stay in the know: NCRA event updates, webinars, and more

The webinar is full!

As NCRA, like the rest of the world, continues to adjust to how daily life and the ability to conduct business is being impacted by the constant efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus, we encourage all members to be patient as your Board and staff reassess the status of scheduled and future planned events.

In light of the most recent recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and other federal health agencies that the public avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing, NCRA has opted to postpone and possibly reschedule all events that were planned through May, including the 2020 Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp that was scheduled for May 17-19 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Alexandria, Va. NCRA will be contacting those who have already registered for the event with information about the reimbursement of registration fees. Information about new dates for this event will be announced in the JCR Weekly and by emails to members at a future date.

NCRA has also canceled the spring CLVS hands-on training and production exam that was scheduled to take place March 27 and 28 at headquarters in Reston, Va. NCRA will hold the training and testing again in the fall with dates to be announced at a later date.

Members who have already booked flights to these and other events are advised to contact their airlines directly to find out more about cancellation and rescheduling procedures.

Staff liaisons will also be contacting members of NCRA committees who planned to attend meetings scheduled to take place at NCRA’s headquarters in Reston, Va. Options could include conducting those meetings via online conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype.

To learn more about these online conferencing platforms, NCRA Immediate Past President Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, and Director Keith Lemons, FAPR, RPR, CRR, are leading a special webinar Thursday, March 19.

The webinar is now full!

If you purchased the webinar, please check your email confirmation. Because of demand, there are now two sessions, one at 7 p.m. and one at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Once members or non-members register, they will be emailed a link to Zoom with information about how to sign into the meeting. We are trying to schedule additional sessions, and we will send out the information when we can. Thank you for your patience.

NCRA members are also encouraged to tune into the next NCRA Town Hall happening March 21 at 10 a.m. Eastern. Conversation will address the coronavirus and how reporters,  captioners, videographers, and associate members can empower and sustain themselves and their families through these rough waters we face as an industry, along with the rest of the world. The NCRA virtual Town Hall meetings also offer members the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature. Questions can also be submitted in advance to lbutler@ncra.org. Register here.

Finally, NCRA members are encouraged to begin checking the Association’s website where the latest developments regarding the status of events, helpful webinars, and links to ensure the most current information is available and accessible about the constantly changing health landscape, will be posted. Watch for updates on the homepage of NCRA.org.

Message from NCRA President Max Curry

Our hearts go out to the individuals, businesses, and communities that have been affected by COVID-19 (or coronavirus). In response to the increasing number of cases and uncertainty domestically and around the world, I want to make you aware of the precautions NCRA is taking to protect the health and safety of our staff and their families and to ensure that your member services and benefits are not disrupted during these trying times.

We want you to know that NCRA has in place a staff that can work remotely efficiently and effectively thanks to the use of the cloud to store and access files. Staff is also able to remain in immediate contact with each other and their committees via such platforms as Zoom and Skype. As such, be assured that it is business as usual for NCRA and NCRF.

We are also following strict quarantine rules in alignment with the most up-to-date CDC guidance for employees (and those who have family members who live in their homes) who have been in contact with someone who has been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 and those who have traveled to high risk areas.

We are keeping up with the guidance of the World Health Organization, CDC, and state and local health authorities related to travel, quarantine, meetings, and events, and we are adjusting our guidance accordingly. We encourage each of you to do the same.

In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to monitor and reevaluate staff travel, visitors to the office, and upcoming meetings and events. For states that are hosting conventions and other events in the next several weeks and months, please contact Jocelynn Moore at jmoore@ncra.org to sign up for a special webinar NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold will be hosting in the near future. The webinar will address how to deal with some of the unintended challenges to the state associations regarding attendance, hotel attrition, etc., due to the coronavirus.

We are committed to staying connected with you and assisting you in any way we can through these unprecedented times. At the end of this email is a list of tips and resources to help you stay informed of the latest developments.

On behalf of your NCRA Board of Directors, NCRA staff, and myself, we wish you the best during this current health risk and urge you to please heed the advice of the experts to keep yourself, your family, your friends, your clients, and your community safe from this infectious virus. Please feel free to reach out to NCRA should you have additional questions or concerns.

We wish you and your loved ones the very best.

Max Curry, RPR, CRI

NCRA President

Additional resources

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) currently exists. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday precautionary actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Other valuable information

Recommended strategies for employers to use now

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Separate sick employees
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette, and hand hygiene by all employees
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel (CDC)

 Additional resources to check for the latest information about the coronavirus

2020 DSA nomination deadline nears

Nominations for the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor NCRA can bestow on a member, are due March 13. It recognizes the distinguished work and service by an individual member for the benefit of the court reporting profession. Do you know someone who has been involved in NCRA affairs on an extensive level, along with service to state and other reporting associations? Has this person been involved in public affairs and public relations or writing for association publications? If so, take time to nominate that person for this year’s DSA award. The recipient will be recognized at the NCRA Conference & Expo in Orlando in August.

2019 NCRA Distinguished Service Award Honoree Bruce Matthews
2019 NCRA Distinguished Service Award Honoree Bruce Matthews with NCRA Past President Sue Terry

“Due to the fact I started my career 47 years ago with the late, great Marty Fincun in Cleveland, I became immediately involved with the Ohio Shorthand Reporters Association and soon thereafter with NCRA. You might say I caught the bug of doing association work on committees, task forces, and eventually working as a board member,” said Bruce Matthews, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a retired court reporter from Lakewood, Ohio, who was honored with the award last year.

“When my name was called at last year’s convention as the 2019 Distinguished Service Award recipient, I felt my career, not only as a reporter, but as a volunteer, had finally been completed. It was a very humbling experience and one I’ll always remember. My award hangs in my living room with great pride. I see it every day,” Matthews added.

Voting members of NCRA or recognized court reporting associations can submit nominations. Nominations must include information supporting why the nominee should be considered. Finally, DSA candidates cannot be an active member of the DSA Committee or the NCRA Board of Directors and must be a Registered Member of NCRA in good standing or a Registered Retired Member or Registered Retired Lifetime Member who was a member in good standing upon retirement.

Eligible members of NCRA may submit nominations online at: NCRA.org/awards/dsa or by email to dsa@ncra.org.

The deadline for nominations for NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award is March 13. Don’t wait; nominate someone today!

CASE Student Scholarship and more open until April 1

The CASE Student Scholarship is now open! Five scholarships in the amounts of $250, $500, $750, $1000 and $1500 are available. Qualified applicants must attend an NCRA-approved court reporting program, hold student membership in NCRA, and have passed one skills test writing between 140 and 180 wpm among other eligibility requirements. Nominations close April 1. Please visit the CASE Student Scholarship page for full submission details.

In addition, NCRA is seeking nominations from members for a few other awards and scholarships. Now is a great time to recognize that special teacher, court reporter, or captioner who inspired or supported you in your career – or motivate a student by nominating them for a scholarship.

CASE Educator of the YearIf there is a court reporting instructor who helped you in your career who remains unrecognized for his or her many contributions to the professions of court reporting and captioning, now is a great time to show your appreciation. Was there someone special who inspired you, who got you through the ups, downs, and plateaus of your court reporting classes? If a teacher was an incredible influence on you, consider nominating him or her for the CASE Educator of the Year Award. Nominations close April 1.

Fellow of the Academy of Professional ReportersIf you know a dedicated court reporter or captioner who has contributed to the profession in a big way over the years, nominate that person as a Fellow. This prestigious recognition is a sign of your colleagues’ understanding of your special contributions to the fields of court reporting and captioning. Candidates must be active practitioners in the field and have at least 10 years of experience. Criteria for nomination include the publication of important papers, legislative or creative contributions to the field, and service on committees or boards. Nominations close April 1.

NCRA A to Z® scholarshipsUp to 10 students will receive a $500 scholarship. Qualified applicants must have completed the NCRA A to Z ® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program as well as passed a skills test writing between 60 and 100 wpm among other eligibility requirements. Nominations close April 1.

NCRA announces 2020-2021 slate of nominees

NCRA’s Nominating Committee is pleased to announce the following slate of nominees for the 2020-2021 association year.  The upcoming year includes nominations for president-elect, vice president, secretary-treasurer, and two director seats for three-year terms.  The current president-elect, Christine Phipps, RPR, North Palm Beach, Fla., automatically ascends to the presidency.

The slate of officers includes:

  • President-Elect: Debra A. Dibble, RDR, CRR, CRC, Woodland, Utah
  • Vice President:  Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, CRR, Webster, N.Y.
  • Secretary-Treasurer: Kristin Anderson, RPR, San Antonio, Texas

Nominated to serve three-year Director terms were:

  • Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, Fort Collins, Colo.
  • Cathy Penniston, RPR, CRI, Waukee, Iowa

NCRA’s Nominating Committee is composed of Chair Sue Terry, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, Springfield, Ohio, and members Rhonda Hall-Breuwet, RDR, CRR, Lakeland, Fla.; Melanie Humphrey-Sonntag, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, Greeley Colo.; Kim Tindall, RPR, San Antonio, Texas; and Brooke Ryan, RPR, Sacramento, Calif.

As NCRA’s immediate past president, Terry served as chair and said: “The Nominating Committee was fortunate to have many qualified candidates and appreciates those who stepped forward to share their time and talent as well as those who submitted nominations.  In order to continue the impressive work of NCRA 2.0, we feel that laser focus on our A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program and reporter education, along with strong board cohesion, communication, and dedication, will serve our members well.  Increasing membership and stabilizing NCRA’s fiscal position have had amazing achievements, and we continue to expect great things.  We’re very proud of the work we’ve done and the slate we’ve presented.” 

NCRA’s membership will vote on the nominations at least 30 days before the Annual Business Meeting, which is scheduled for Aug. 6, in Orlando, Fla. Additional nominations are possible if received within 60 days after publication of the Nominating Committee slate. The date by which additional nominations must be received is April 26. Please refer to Article VIII, Section 3, of the Constitution and Bylaws for more information.  More information on how and when to vote will be provided after the April 26 deadline.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow highlights the work of human court reporters

On Feb. 20, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow expressed her thanks to court reporters, saying: “It is really hard to get detailed, perfect court transcripts turned around same day so that we in the news media can read from them on the same day that court proceedings happen.”

During the segment, Maddow discussed the work of court reporters with colleague Lawrence O’Donnell. He noted the stenographers “are just miracle workers in the way they capture every word.”

“We are happy that Ms. Maddow took a moment to recognize the talents of court reporters,” said NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CPE. “We were aware of Ms. Maddow’s admiration for the transcripts she uses regularly and the appreciation she has shown many of our colleagues working in the courts over the years. But we are so appreciative of her taking the time to recognize our hard work on national television, so that more people can recognize the importance of the official record in courts as well as the role stenographers have in protecting the public interest.” Curry also sent a letter of thanks to Maddow and MSNBC.

In the past few weeks, court reporters and captioners throughout the United States and around the world have sent articles and letters to MSNBC and other news outlets and then shared those posts through a wide variety of social media outlets to call attention to the importance of the court reporter in legal proceedings in local, state, and federal courthouses, as well as on the floor of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. These articles and posts were in response to other comments made on MSNBC by Brian Williams and former Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. Many court reporters and captioners have noted that accurate verbatim transcripts happen with technology, often by providing same-day transcripts and sometimes by providing access to a record in real time. Captioners shared that they use the same technology to provide access to public hearings, classrooms, conferences, and live national broadcasts for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. This grassroots campaign overlapped the celebration of the NCRA Court Reporting & Captioning Week, held Feb. 8-15, during which the Association secured official proclamations recognizing the work of court reporters and captioners by U.S. Reps. Ron Kind of Wisconsin and Rodney Davis of Illinois.

A sample of the articles referenced include:

“Thank you to everyone who supported this effort,” said NCRA Executive Director Dave Wenhold, CAE, PLC. “Clearly, your time and effort have helped the professions be recognized and valued for your technical skills, your quiet integrity, and your importance in providing an accurate and reliable transcript. We have always known that by working together, we have a stronger voice.”

Celebrate #CRCW: How do I get an official proclamation in my state?

The JCR spoke to NCRA Board member Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, CRI, Shawnee, Kan., who succeeded in getting a proclamation in the Kansas state legislature for the last several years during Court Reporting & Captioning Week. She was also successful in securing one from the State Supreme Court one year as well. We asked her a few questions to help guide you through the process.

JCR | What office at the state level do you approach to request an official proclamation recognizing Court Reporting & Captioning Week?

CI | I have approached the governor and our county commissioners for proclamations. Our lobbyist helped us one year, but the other years we went on Google and searched for “State of Kansas Proclamation Request.” I sent them the verbiage that I got from the NCRA website about the history of court reporters and they did the rest. I did make contact with the secretary/staffer to come for a presentation.

JCR | How do you make the request? In person, in writing?

CI | I made the request through the form on the website. For the County Commissioner’s office, I contacted the county and spoke with the secretary for the chairman of the commission, and I also gave her the information from NCRA about our long history.

JCR | How soon should you make the request to ensure it happens in conjunction with the week?

CI | The sooner the better. I would send it in the beginning of January. County Commissioner’s office doesn’t take as long as the governor.

JCR | Should the party requesting the proclamation provide an actual proclamation, or does the office issuing it provide it?

CI | The governor’s office did all the paperwork, provided the proclamation, and made a few copies for us. The County Commissioner’s office prepared the proclamation and gave it to us during a County Commissioner’s meeting during Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

JCR | Is it appropriate to request a photo shoot of the proclamation being signed/presented?

CI | Absolutely. We have taken pictures with the governor and the county commissioner every time. They are politicians and they want to represent their constituents and the professions they hold any opportunity they can.

JCR | Are officials typically receptive to these types of requests?

CI | Very receptive, especially if you give them the language that you want and explain that it’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

JCR | Do you have any additional tips you’d like to share regarding securing an official proclamation?

CI | We attended the Board of County Commissioner’s meeting and provided realtime for the board, and it was very enlightening for them. The judge I work for went with me and talked about the importance of what we do and how proud he is of all court reporters in our county. If the governor cannot see you, or you’re short on time, just have them mail you the proclamation. I had no problems contacting their office and speaking to a staffer about making arrangements to go to the capitol for the presentation. It’s very quick, so don’t be offended if they don’t spend a lot of time with you.

Did you know that for the second consecutive year, NCRA has issued its own challenge that calls on all state affiliates to help celebrate 2020 Court Reporting & Captioning Week by securing an official proclamation recognizing the week by their state governor or a state lawmaker? States that submit a copy of their official state proclamation recognizing the week to pr@ncra.org will be entered into a drawing to win one free 2020 Convention & Expo registration. A downloadable sample proclamation is available on NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning resource page.

For additional resources, visit NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week resources page at NCRA.org/home/events. No matter how you celebrate 2020 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, be sure to share your stories and photos with NCRA’s Communications Team at pr@ncra.org. Also, remember to use the hashtag #CRCW20 when you post on social media.

Presenting at the NCRA Conference for the first time

Penny Wile

By Penny Wile, RPR, RMR, CRR

When I was asked to speak on a panel at the 2019 NCRA Conference & Expo in Denver, Colo., I was honored and immediately accepted. I never imagined I would be asked to present at a national convention. I will admit, I am a newbie at speaking to my court reporting peers. I was asked to be on a panel with three very talented professionals and speak on how we promote the profession. We had a couple of conference calls before the convention and only met one another briefly before we spoke on the panel.

Being a newbie and not knowing what to expect, before I left home to attend the conference, I typed up what I planned to speak about and arrived in Denver with my notes. My fear was how am I going to speak for a solid 10 minutes with the few notes I had compiled. It seemed like 10 minutes of content.

While in Denver my son and I spent time sightseeing in Boulder, Nederland, and Morrison. We drove up the rocks and took in the amazing views and visited some of the Colorado attractions.

Fast forward to Saturday, the day I was scheduled to present. When I returned to my room at lunchtime, I found that in my haste to keep our room tidy I had thrown away my notes. After grabbing some food to-go, I returned to my room and sat down to quickly type up what I could remember from the notes I had thrown away. I typed the notes on my iPad and ate, all the while wondering if this would be sufficient.

When I arrived at the meeting hall, I will admit I was nervous. I knew very little about my fellow panelists and didn’t really know what to expect. One by one the panelists entered, and I was immediately at ease. They were friendly, knowledgeable about the topic we would be presenting on, and all-around impressive court reporting professionals.

Each of us on the panel brought something different to the table. We spoke of promoting the profession through our presentations at the middle and high school levels, community college level, job fairs, and volunteer opportunities. We discussed resources that can be used to promote our profession and how to obtain them.

In hindsight, I feel I could have done better with my presentation. When it was my turn to speak, I began with too much of my background. I kept thinking 10 minutes was a long time to speak. But before I knew it, I had run out of time. I didn’t even use the notes I had retyped. I was appreciative of the questions asked by our audience because it gave me an opportunity to address the topic in more detail.

After attending the NCRA Conference & Expo, I came away empowered by all of the speakers from their topic content and the effortless way they presented.

I hope I will be invited again to be a speaker so I can use what I have learned from my first experience – be concise and informative! It was an honor to be asked by NCRA to be part of the conference agenda, and I truly appreciated the opportunity to speak and network with my peers and the NCRA staff who work so hard for us. Always remember, like our panel topic demonstrated, promote the profession!

Penny Wile, RMR, CRR, is a freelance court reporter and owner of Penny Wile Court Reporting. She resides in Norfolk, Va. She can be contacted at pawile@cox.net.

Click to find out how to apply to present at the 2020 NCRA Conference & Expo.

What has NCRA done for captioners?

By Carol Studenmund

I live in Portland, Ore., and I am one of the owners of LNS Court Reporting and LNS Captioning along with Robin Nodland. I manage LNS Captioning, and she manages LNS Court Reporting. I began captioning in 1992. I’ve had the joy of captioning two Super Bowls for fans and players in the stadiums, and I have had the heartbreak of captioning way too many mass shooting events. In between are many hours listening to the public testify at city council meetings and inconsequential but sweet stories about kittens and puppies. I love my job and would not trade it for anything.

Evolution of a captioner

I can trace the evolution of captioning in my own personal development.

In April 1992 I attended the first NCRA realtime writing conference, held in Seattle, Wash. The staff of the National Captioning Institute and VITAC took about 200 people through the paces of writing in real time without conflicts or undefined steno. At this conference, I found a path to follow to become a live captioner. From this foundation, I and many others started our immersion into the pool of qualified live captioners.

In July 1992, at the NCRA convention in Chicago, I sat for the brand-new Certified Realtime Reporter examination, and I did not pass. I returned to take the test at the next convention and passed. Passing that test was hard, and I put a lot of work into being ready for it the second time around. I gained a ton of confidence in my writing and my ability to stay cool under pressure.

In 1994, I was asked to participate in a training conference held by NCRA. Over the next few years, I traveled the country as part of a team of NCRA members who trained even more people to become great realtime writers, and many of them joined the world of live captioning. The people I taught with inspired me to keep working on my writing, and still I consider them mentors who could help answer my questions about so many topics relating to captioning. I have benefited greatly from the training, the certification, and the networking I have found through NCRA.

Captioners were a part of NCRA from the beginning

A meme going around the social media world of live captioning asks: “What has NCRA ever done for captioning?” Trust me, a great amount of energy and hard work on behalf of NCRA leadership and members built the foundation for the field of professional, certified live captioners.

Marty Block, RPR (Ret.), then of the National Captioning Institute, provided the first live captioning on live television in the world for the 1982 Academy Awards ceremony. No faxes or emails were sent with prep material. Someone from NCI flew to Los Angeles to pick up — literally — the Oscars’ script for Marty. Marty went on to become president of NCRA and one of the founders of VITAC. Other past presidents of NCRA who are or were captioners include Joe Karlovits, RDR (Ret.); Judy Brentano, RPR (Ret.); Kathy DiLorenzo, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC; and Karen Yates, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC.

Karlovits became the first person to caption for a deaf lawyer when that lawyer argued a case before the United States Supreme Court in 1982. His work received a great deal of publicity across the country. Many firsts in captioning were celebrated by the community of people with hearing disabilities as more and more TV programs and other live events became accessible.

Advocating for captioning

In the early 2000s, NCRA helped obtain funding for Mississippi State University to develop a workforce development program for captioning. Jan Bounds oversaw an excellent bachelor’s degree in a court reporting program at Ole Miss. The Mississippi Congressional delegation went to bat for a $500,000 grant to create this program to train court reporters to become live captioners. NCRA threw its weight behind this effort, led by Dave Wenhold, then our lobbyist, now our Executive Director. Ole Miss hired EduCaption, Inc., out of Atlanta, to create and implement the program. Past president Judy Brentano and current NCRA board member Heidi Thomas, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, created the program and toured the country to train captioners. When I come across someone trained in this program, their résumé goes to the top of the pile. EduCaption has moved around over the years and is now known as Learn to Caption, which is run by NCRA member Anissa Nierenberger, RPR, CRR, CRC, CRI. NCRA has lobbied Congress for retraining funds year after year, funds which helped many realtime writing programs become established across the country.

NCRA develops a certification program for captioners

In 2003, the Certified CART Provider and Certified Broadcast Captioner program began by providing CRR holders with a written knowledge test that demonstrated the test candidate’s knowledge of working in the broadcast world and/or the CART captioning world. Many captioners quickly took both exams and obtained both certifications. By 2015 the CRR became a true judicial reporter exam by becoming a testimony-only skills test. The Certified Realtime Captioner program was launched in 2015, when the two written knowledge tests were combined into one exam, and the skills portion of the certification became a test at 180 words per minute with a 96 percent accuracy rate required to pass.

NCRA has worked throughout the years to raise awareness of our certification programs, including the CRC. As a result of that work, I have replied to several Requests for Proposals that specifically required captioners to be holders of our CRC as part of the contract.

NCRA building best practices for captioning

In 2012, the Canadian Radio Television Commission (CRTC) created a caption accuracy program that just about all live captioners — in Canada and the United States — felt was draconian and onerous. Just to state the obvious, live captioners do not control what is being said on TV. We cannot tell the weather guy to slow down. We caption what we are given. We all strive for 100 percent accuracy for 100 percent of the words. However, people talk over each other. Politicians yell at each other. It’s part of the job. The CRTC’s plan involved CRTC staff obtaining the actual audio file of a TV program and the captions that were created by the live captioner assigned to that program. The staff person then would evaluate the captioner’s accuracy rate compared against the actual words said. When I’m racing to keep up, I will drop “okay” or someone repeating themselves, those types of things. Those would all be counted as errors against my accuracy rate.

That same year, I was the chairperson of the Captioning Community of Interest. My fellow committee members and I agreed we did not want anything like the Canadian plan to come to the United States. We decided to take the bull by the horns and control our futures. We created a document that outlined the roles of everyone involved in bringing live captioning to TV. When I am working as a captioner, what are my duties and responsibilities? When I am operating in my role as a firm owner, what must I make sure happens to get my captioners’ captions to the program on time and as accurately as possible? What roles do my local network affiliates and local cable providers play in getting our captions delivered to the viewers without any technical errors? We even included a part in this process for the caption consumer to provide feedback to the FCC about their experiences watching captioned programming.

Once Adam Finkel, our then-government relations staff person at NCRA, had vetted our Best Practices with the national organizations for people with hearing disabilities, we were ready to take our best practices to the next level: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Finkel made an appointment with the FCC to share our Best Practices. Their response? “We love this.” We did not ask the FCC to grade papers. Our best practices scenario let everyone know what part of the process they were responsible for. In 2015, the FCC’s Rules for Broadcast Captioning Quality were approved and made into law.

Is there anything else I should know?

NCRA’s current president, Max Curry, RPR, CRI, wants to bring as many captioners into NCRA as he can find. The more members we have, the more work NCRA can do on behalf of us all. I urge you, if you are a captioner and haven’t earned the CRC, put that on your to-do list and work hard to pass that test. If you have already earned the CRC, continue your education. There is always more to learn about this great, big world of ours, and you never know what will come up when you caption. If you work with other captioners, encourage them to become members of NCRA and to earn these certifications. Together, we can do wonderful things.

Carol Studenmund, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, is a captioner based in Portland, Ore., and chair of the NCRA Captioning Regulatory Policy Committee. She can be reached at cstudenmund@LNSCaptioning.com.

NCRA STRONG Task Force creates Toolkit for promoting court reporting and captioning

By Christopher Day

The NCRA STRONG Task Force has been working with NCRA staff to bring you the NCRA STRONG Toolkit. The Toolkit brings you a number of documents and presentations that will help you advocate for the court reporting and captioning professions and educate clients, lawyers, litigants, or other members of the public about the benefits of stenographic reporting and the risks of digital reporting. The NCRA STRONG Toolkit offers free recruitment materials to all NCRA members and serves as your go-to resource to highlight the advantages of stenographic reporting whenever you have an event, deposition, meeting, or seminar with individuals who need to know what stenographic reporting can bring to their table. Materials are conveniently available on the NCRA website at NCRA.org/STRONG.

As we look toward a wonderful new year, we want to acknowledge and thank every one of you for your own dedication to and hard work in these amazing professions. Please share these presentations, NCRA STRONG logos, flyers, and additional materials with your fellow members. We meet the needs of our market in a way that is unparalleled and personal. Our work is important. Our services are essential. Take the time out to get connected! Together, we can enhance one another’s efforts to advertise our profession.

Christopher Day is an official court reporter based in Staten Island, N.Y., and a member of the NCRA STRONG Task Force. He can be reached at ChristopherDay227@gmail.com.